Whether you want to shed unwanted pounds or tone up your physique, having a healthy diet is essential. To help you learn which foods to avoid and which types of food to consume, today’s nutrition guide features 12 healthy diet tips from leading nutrition experts.
12 Healthy Diet Tips
Jennifer Bowers, PhD, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with 25 years experience providing healthy diet tips and expert advice to patients. Below are three of her healthy diet tips to help you shed unwanted pounds.
1. Go plant-based
Aim for adding at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables to your day… and, more is better! Think beyond the apple and banana in your lunch. Try butternut squash and black bean tacos. Add kale or spinach to a soup at the end of cooking. Be adventurous and experiment with one uncommon fruit each week. Grill up some portobello mushroom burgers. Mix shredded zucchini into your favorite quick bread.
2. Mini-Meals are in
Keep some healthy snacks on hand that contain protein, complex carbohydrate, and fiber. Not only will these energy bursts keep your metabolism going, they stave off hunger making you less tempted by office treats or drive-thru dinners. Some great examples – hummus and fresh vegetables, almond butter and sliced apples, or whole grain bread with avocado slices.
3. Avoid sugary drinks
We all know that soda pop is loaded with sugar, but don’t forget the energy and sports drinks, or fancy coffee beverages. Even your favorite morning breakfast smoothie can contain more sugar than you need in an entire day. Focus on water, water, water for hydration. Infuse flavors with fresh mint, cucumber slices, raspberries or citrus slices.
Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD, CDE is a dietitian with 10 years experience in clinical nutrition. Below are a couple of her healthy diet tips that will help you lose weight and get in shape.
4. Limit processed foods
Liquid calories should always be avoided from sodas to juices. Also, limit highly processed snacks such as chips, crackers, or cookies that are easy to overeat and provide little nutrition.
5. Eat the rainbow
It’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. Choose one from each color category (white, red, yellow/orange, blue/purple, and green). Each of these colors represents a different nutrient, therefore it’s important to eat a large variety.
Rebecca Lee is a Registered Nurse and founder of RemediesForMe.com, a site that sheds light on natural remedies for various ailments. Below are some of her healthy diet tips that can help boost wellness.
6. Eliminate unhealthy toxins
Remove toxins, chemicals, GMOs, and MSG products from your food and household products. If you’ve ever looked at food labels and noticed that there are ingredients listed that look like they’re written in a foreign language and are super hard to pronounce – it’s usually because they’re not natural. These ingredients are chemicals and toxins. Your body does not know how to digest them or how to use them, so they get stored away, as fat! Chemicals and toxins are hidden in most of our foods and common everyday household products.
7. Avoid sugar-free, zero-calorie foods and artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain, metabolic syndrome, mental retardation, Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy, diabetes, birth defects, blindness, tinnitus, joint pain, urinary problems, bloating, and irritability. There are 6 FDA-approved artificial sweeteners on the market. Artificial sweeteners were first linked to cancer back in the 1970s – lab rats were developing bladder cancer. Artificial sweeteners are in basically everything that we eat, as they are used for flavoring while decreasing calories.
8. Cook with healthier oils
Coconut oil contains healthy fats that are good for weight loss, brain health, and numerous other health benefits.
Coconut oil is made up of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are metabolized differently in the body than most fats. MCTs are transferred quickly from the digestive tract to the liver and converted into an immediate source of energy. Avocado oil is one of the healthiest foods in the world. It contains healthy fats, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Avocado oil curbs the appetite and helps you to feel full longer, which leads to weight loss.
9. Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Some of the uses of this vinegar are: stimulates weight loss, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, increases immunity and fights cancer, decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke, lowers cholesterol, and maintains blood sugar. Apple cider vinegar is a very low caloric food (3 calories per tablespoon) but is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Some of the nutrients include potassium, magnesium, fiber, amino acids, and antioxidants (cancer-fighting). A study done in Japan in 2009 showed that subjects who took apple cider vinegar every day for 12 weeks lost weight. After a daily intake of 1 tablespoon and 2 tablespoons, subjects lost 2.6 lbs and 3.7 lbs (respectively).
Dr. Caroline Apovian is the Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, in addition to being a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and the vice-president of The Obesity Society. Below are three of her favorite healthy foods that help your body naturally lose weight, build lean muscle, and boost wellness.
10. Consume more Salmon
Your body expends more energy and burns more calories to digest proteins as opposed to carbohydrates. Lean proteins are best for weight loss, and fish have the added benefit of being high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body, improve the body’s ability to burn fat, and help keep us feeling full longer. Salmon is an excellent choice, providing an impressive 33 grams of protein for a mere 262 calories per serving.
11. Eat unsweetened Greek Yogurt
Fat cells containing calcium burn off more fat than those that lack it. Calcium-rich foods, such as Greek yogurt, milk, and some leafy greens, help you to meet your daily requirements and keep this trend working in your favor. As many dairy products are calorie-dense, proceed with caution. A cup of nonfat Greek yogurt is high in protein, contains about 18 percent of your daily calcium needs, and contains only 100 calories. Make sure to choose an unsweetened variety.
12. Opt for Whole Grains
Opting for whole grains over refined grains burns nearly twice as many calories during digestion. More energy is needed to digest the fiber content in whole grains. In addition, the process that refines grains into white flour, pasta, bread, and other processed foods strips away the naturally occurring nutrients, fiber, and protein that your body needs. There is some confusion about the relationship between whole grains and weight loss due to the gluten-free movement. Physicians advise some to avoid gluten for allergy-related reasons, not for any weight loss-related
advantage. I recommend that my patients consume about a half cup of cooked whole grains each day.
For more healthy diet tips and expert advice on how to lose weight, check out the Diet & Nutrition section on Inspirations & Celebrations.
[Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Doctor or Registered Dietician before starting any diet. Image credits: Shutterstock.]